A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to Retirement

Less than a week ago I used this blog to announce my intention to retire.

Four days later I was laid off.

My position was eliminated during a “strategic realignment” of the organization.  I was not alone.  Three other colleagues received the same message as me.  And there had been earlier realignments in the organization.  It was a matter of time before they got to our department. I guess I’ll never know if I was chosen because I had announced my retirement or because my number came up.  Either way, c’est la vie.  (That’s a French way of saying “it is what it is.”)

The next day, as fate would have it, was my birthday — my 65th birthday. When I was a child that was the expected retirement age, 65.   But things have changed along the way.  My full Social Security payment will not kick in until I’m 66 but I had made up my mind I wouldn’t wait another year.  I made application for Social Security on-line and in a few days received a call from a nice agent who informed me that I qualified to receive my late husband’s benefits — which are substantially higher — even though we were common law for many years.  I’ve sent her the proof that Bob and I presented ourselves as husband and wife.  She made it sound all very simple.  Let’s hope.

On my birthday I awoke and immediately thought of the day before when I had been laid off.  As I lay there thinking of the week’s events I couldn’t help but think of my good fortune.  Certainly not everyone who has been laid off has that thought.  But throughout the week I had been thinking how I would like to be retired by the end of October.  Answered prayers!  Not the way I would have crafted it but it is, nevertheless, an answered prayer.

I rolled out of bed thinking “Well, Alice, it is the first day of the rest of your life.”  I smiled broadly and headed off to Alafia River State Park where I photographed mushrooms with the help of my sister.  Here’s a sampling of the day’s work.

This little guy was no more than 1/2 inch in height.  He was beginning his new life … and so was I.  ❧

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